Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Japanese nuclear plant fails to fix leak

TOKYO — Tons of contaminated groundwater from the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant are emptying daily into the Pacific, creating what a top regulator called a crisis.

The water contains strontium — a particularly dangerous isotope if it gets into the food chain — as well as cesium and tritium, which are considered less dangerous when released into the ocean. The plant's operator says it does not yet pose a health threat because levels of the contaminants are still very low in the open ocean.

But regulators and critics alike worry because the company, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, has been unable to stop the flow of the contaminated water, which appears to have started between December and May.

"Tepco lacks a sufficient sense of urgency for this crisis," Shinji Kinjo, a high-level official at the country's nuclear regulatory watchdog, said in an interview Tuesday.

The plant was already struggling to store hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated water that flowed through the buildings housing three reactors that experienced meltdowns in 2011. But the contamination in this new groundwater problem is from different sources, Tepco said.

To halt the flow of contaminated water, Tepco built an underground barrier along the shoreline in front of one damaged reactor in June by injecting chemicals into the soil to harden it. But Tepco has told regulators that it believes that the barrier failed to stop the water, instead acting like a dam that pooled the contaminated underground water behind it until it flowed over the top of the barrier toward the sea.

Japanese nuclear plant fails to fix leak 08/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays hoping RHP Romo can regain form, help bullpen

    Blogs

     

    Sergio Romo celebrates striking out Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers to win Game Four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Comerica Park in 2012.
  2. See you later, alligator! Reptile captured off Miami Beach (w/video)

    Wildlife

    MIAMI BEACH — Police and wildlife officials captured an unwanted visitor on Miami Beach.

    An alligator was spotted swimming in the Atlantic Ocean near the South Pointe Park pier in Miami Beach on July 23, 2017. News outlets quoted viewers who said it took officials about two hours to capture the gator. No one was injured.

  3. Dog dies in hot car while owner cleans Florida condos

    Public Safety

    PANAMA CITY BEACH — Authorities say a 2-year-old Chihuahua died in a hot car while its owner was cleaning condominiums in Florida.

  4. Recipe for Nutty Quinoa Carbonara

    Cooking

    If you've never made carbonara, consider adding it to your weekday dinner lineup. It is a traditional Italian pasta dish in which eggs are mixed with cheese and then swirled into cooked pasta just before serving. The result is a luscious bowl of food you won't believe contains so few ingredients. This recipe swaps …

    Quinoa Carbonara. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  5. Trump son-in-law Kushner denies collusion with Russia (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of President Donald Trump's successful White House bid, declaring in a statement ahead of interviews with congressional committees that he has "nothing to hide."

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens during the "American Leadership in Emerging Technology" event with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington on June 22, 2017. [Associated Press]